Please use these quick links to navigate to the various sections of Bush Telegraph, or simply scroll down to read the magazine from top to bottom. Happy reading!
From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Research Centre
New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
I’m on study leave during July taking some time for personal reading, writing and reflection. Here’s the brief I’ve given myself…
Rumours of another world: Words and images from the frontier of silence.
We live root-bound in container pots of language that are way too small for the call of gracious and spacious lives.
Rumours of another world is a conversation that refuses to be bound by the constraints of a busy life.
Rumours of another world is a courageous conversation with mystery and complexity opening an imaginative window to a life of creativity and wonder.
Rumours of another world is grounded conversation in the mundane matters of everyday life.
Hui on diversity
The Moderator of Te Aka Puaho Rev Wayne Te Kaawa and I will be hosting a hui on diversity. Members of the Council of Assembly and Moderator-designate, the Rev Richard Dawson will also be present at the gathering which is on 11-12 August at Ohope Marae.
The purpose of the hui is to foster a greater appreciation for the diversity of views within our Church on matters of sexuality and marriage and how this impacts our life together.
Read more about the hui, to which all are welcome, on the Church website. Read more
July 15-17 – A weekend the with youth at the PYM Connect conference
Next month I’ll start posting a series of short papers addressing issues of life, faith, order and imagination inviting generous, open, grace filled and robust conversations within our Church. Watch the Church website and Facebook for further details.
Nga mihi nui
Dear friends and colleagues
I have just returned from the Council for World Mission Assembly in Jeju, South Korea. It is good to be reminded that we are part of the larger worldwide family of God. I heard stories of the struggle, oppression and persecution our sisters and brothers in faith face on a daily basis together with the joys, celebration and advances being made around the world for the Kingdom of God.
In that regard – I notice little news in the media about the recent unrest in Papua New Guinea. In talking with the General Secretary of the United Church of Papua New Guinea I know they would deeply value our prayers: that their national parliament would take responsible actions to keep the peace; that people would stay calm rather than taking the opportunity to loot, destroy properties and harass others; that the Church would stand united in prayer and seek God’s will; that the media would report honestly; that the police would treat people with respect and care and that that there will be a greater sense of understanding. Being part of the larger ecumenical family carries with it responsibilities in times like these.
It was also a privilege for Assembly Office to welcome interns from the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, who joined us as the final part of their block course. The national office team were great at offering hospitality and shared with warmth, and energy the wider ministries of the national church. These opportunities build links and make connections and remind us all we are part of something bigger.
In mid July I will be joining the second largest Presbyterian gathering we have this year – PYM Connect. Connect is about networking, training and resourcing. I encourage you to do what you can to ensure that those involved in leading youth ministry in your setting have the opportunity to be part of this.
Calling a newly trained minister
This year six people will complete their training as interns. They represent a range of backgrounds and experiences. All are eager to commit themselves to ministry within the life of a congregation. Profiles for each of them will shortly be available from the Rev Allister Lane, who coordinates introductions and discussions between final year interns and Ministry Settlement Boards. Contact Allister for more information.
Council for World Mission
It is important to pause and note the contribution that the Very Rev Pamela Tankersley has made as Moderator of CWM, an office that she held for the past year. It is also appropriate to express our thanks also for the way she has carried out this role. Pamela concluded her appointment at the recent Assembly. And, congratulations also go to Mrs Jenny Flett who was appointed to the CWM Board as one of the Pacific delegates and was also appointed as one of the Trustees for CWM (UK).
Commissioners to Assembly
There are changes in the way Commissioners will be commissioned this year.
Pursuant to Book of Order 8.17 (1) A presbytery is responsible for the organisation of appointments of commissioners to attend the General Assembly (2) The selection of commissioners is to be based on the total number of full members of congregations within a presbytery, on a fair and reasonable basis. For every 100 members, a presbytery will commission one elder or minister and will allocate the commissions across the congregations within the presbytery.
We will be using the statistics provided as at June 2015 to determine the number of commissioners. The very slow and in some cases non-return of these forms will impact on the determination.
Presbytery clerks and administrators are currently working to determine this new process, and a guideline was provided in November last year to assist in this matter.
On 15-19 November, General Assembly will be held in Dunedin at the University of Otago. Assembly is an opportunity for everyone in our Church to learn, grow and celebrate our life and mission. Full details about the event, including the ministers’ training day on Tuesday, 15 November, will be available on the dedicated Assembly website early in July. More details will be out about this shortly.
Consultation with presbyteries
In 2012 the Assembly decided that presbyteries should be consulted about matters being discussed at the General Assembly. Reports and proposals, when available, will be sent to all presbyteries, the Pacific Islands Synod and Te Aka Puaho. They will use this information to provide some feedback about the content of these reports and the priority that the Church should give them in terms of Assembly’s agenda. These groups will be able to provide feedback to the Assembly Business Workgroup at the presbytery leaders and administrators meeting in August, in Wellington.
Council of Assembly News
The latest Council News can be accessed here: Read Council News
Thank you for your partnership in God’s mission.
How safe is your church?
Since the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA), our requests for help with safety policy development has increased 300 percent. That’s a good thing even when it’s motivated by fear of getting “caught”.
In 2004 our General Assembly legislated that every church needs to have safety and protection policies for working with young people, but the latest HSWA widens the accountability and emphasises the functions and behaviours that promote safety. In other words it’s no good having policy sitting in a file that no one knows about or applies. All churches must ensure that everyone is aware of the policy and is operating in accordance with it.
Some years back a children’s ministry leader asked me if her session agreed to work to become a Kids Friendly church would they be obliged to respond to her request to move poisons out of reach of children and place them in a locked cupboard? She eventually left that church, because her continued requests for this simple act of safety to be implemented, was ignored.
While the HSWA requirements can seem overwhelming, let’s hope it creates better understanding and implementation of safety in our churches. And remember you’re not alone. There’s lots of help for you. The Interchurch Bureau run excellent HSWA training and offer great resources. Kids Friendly and PYM run WOF training for children and youth leaders. We also have samples of every policy you could ever need both for working with young people and for ensuring safety in the work place. Check out our safety resources
I ran a one and a half hour safety workshop in the Waikato last week to help church leaders understand what is required of them and what resources are available are to help them meet those requirements. If that would be helpful in your context let us know. We’re here to serve and resource you.
Kids Friendly Coach
Connect 2016, 15-17 July, Waikanae
Registration closes on 4 July for Connect, our flagship youth leaders conference. If your youth leaders haven’t signed up yet, please ensure they don’t miss the deadline.
Youth commissioners at GA16
The PYM team are very keen to support youth commissioners at General Assembly.
For official youth commissioners, Presbyterian Youth Ministry will be running a youth orientation day commencing at 1:30pm on Tuesday, 15 November. This will be a valuable time for youth commissioners to get their heads around the workings of General Assembly and give some thought to the upcoming debates.
Throughout the week there will be a number of opportunities for youth commissioners to meet together: a dinner with the moderator, a social evening and of course just hanging out.
Youth commissioners who are sleeping onsite will all be located on the same floor.
National Youth Manager
Working with the Mission Enterprise Fund
Press Go is ready to go live with new guidelines and an application form for grants from the mission funds, including the Mission Enterprise Fund, that we administer on behalf of the Church.
The resources that Press Go administers are a very small part of the resources within the Church - resources that are held by congregations and presbyteries. It is Press Go’s role to help the Church redirect its attention and resources to “pursing missional growth”. We want to support and encourage congregations who are committed to growing the Kingdom of God.
There are a number of ways Press Go can support your mission as a congregation or as a presbytery. Sometimes the very best ideas for a new initiative will emerge from a little spark, other times it is from a bold vision that has captured your congregation. Even congregations that are struggling to understand what the future will look like for them can find imagination and inspiration in the tension of change. Many projects will be about “experiments around the edge” – in the community where God is already active.
We are moving away from funding “business as usual” and initiatives that just “make church better” for current members. Not every project will be funded, nor can we assist in all situations.
View the new guidelines, small grant and development grant application forms on the Press Go section of the website. Read more
We can assist in a range of other ways too, so please contact the Press Go Catalyst, Lisa Wells to discuss your mission initiative before you start filling out an application.
Annual report coming
To acknowledge the support of our donors and contributors and report back to the wider Church, Press Go is planning to produce an Annual Report, so watch this space, for further details.
Press Go Catalyst
United Nations Commission on the Status of Women CSW61
Are you passionate about gender equality and the empowerment of women? Do you network within your faith community to improve the lives of women and girls?
Expressions of interest are already being received for the Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand’s delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) in New York in 2017.
The 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 13- 24 March 2017. Representatives of member states, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non- governmental organisations (NGOs) from all regions of the world are invited to attend the session.
Priority theme: Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.
Review theme: Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls.
If you are interested in being a self-funded member of the Presbyterian Women’s delegation next year in March, please email Carol Grant
The KCML staff and interns have just completed the winter block course in Silverstream, Wellington. This is the first time a block course has been held outside of Dunedin or Auckland. This provided a wonderful opportunity to be with the Wellington forum (Presbytery Central) and connect with local churches and projects.
Steve Taylor is presenting a conference paper on indigenous christology and then leading a research forum in fieldwork in theology in Melbourne (4-5 July). He is speaking at a Wellington ministers retreat (13-14 July). Steve will be the keynote speaker at Pacific Island Synod at the end of the month on 29 July. Steve’s key goal in the short term is connecting with the incoming interns for 2017 and clarifying their placements for the internship programme.
I am conducting a four-day preaching seminar in Palmerston North for “Kiwimade Preaching” (4-8 July), and then will attend Connect where I am conducting two workshops. I will also be presenting a paper at the conference “Preaching God’s Word in a Smartphone World” at Carey Baptist College on 21-22 July. At the end of the month, I will be conducting a one-day preaching seminar in Kaimai Presbytery and preaching on the Sunday (30- 31 July).
Kevin Ward will be in Melbourne at the Australian and New Zealand Association of Theological Schools (ANZATS) Council meeting and conference in early July and then involved in the Anglican/Presbyterian dialogue at the end of the month.
Malcolm Gordon reports that the response to the new collection, “Songs for the Saints” has been very encouraging. Malcolm is currently preparing with a large, interdisciplinary team to lead worship for the Presbyterian Youth Ministry Connect conference. He has also written a song for our Presbyterian schools celebrating their centenaries and will be sharing it at their conference in August.
Dean of Studies
Over the last couple of decades the arrangements our Church has had with the authorised regional repositories for the depositing of parish collections has undergone considerable change. As we are well aware our local parish collections have not reduced in size; the promises of a paperless society did not eventuate! The rapid closure of congregations throughout the country has placed pressure on the authorised repositories that have generously cared for our church records in the past and retaining them is now too demanding on their limited resources. The authorised repositories that continue to house Presbyterian collections are:
- Hamilton Public Library – for records of the old Waikato Presbytery area only
- Hawkes Bay Museum Theatre Gallery – old Hawkes Bay excluding Gisborne Presbytery area
- Wanganui Museum – Wanganui Presbytery area only
- Alexander Turnbull Library for Wairarapa and Wellington Presbyteries only.
- All other Presbytery regions are deposited with the Presbytery Research Centre in Dunedin.
- Nelson Museum for Nelson region
- Marlborough Provincial Museum and Archives located at Brayshaw Park in Blenheim for Marlborough region.
All other regions of the South Island are deposited with the Presbyterian Research Centre.
Records in the Research Centre archives are catalogued and readily accessible to those wishing to access them. Marriages and baptisms are indexed, and for any family researchers seeking information, are only a phone call or email away. We welcome any enquiries.
It is important to note that our church collections can only be placed in the repositories authorised by the Church. As custodians of the Church’s records it is our responsibility to ensure that the collections are housed in a centralised, safe, dry, fire proof environment, where the records can be accessed under supervision. Please contact the Research Centre if any consideration is being given to a placement of church collections outside the authorised repositories.
The Presbyterian Research Centre archives, parishes and presbyteries are the custodians of church records for the entire Presbyterian Church.
Through our membership in the NZCCSS and alongside Presbyterian Support, the Presbyterian Church is once again exercising its prophetic voice – speaking the truth to those in power and advocating for the most vulnerable to bring about more compassionate government policies.
In June the Council’s 2016 Vulnerability Report made national headlines.
The report says, “Government must provide greater income to poor families, whether they’re in work or on a benefit”. Along with this, the report advocates for the need to re-introduce a Community Response Fund type of resource to underwrite essential services to stressed families while the new systems to support vulnerable children announced in the Budget are developed and implemented.
NZCCSS executive officer, Trevor McGlinchey spoke out on TV One news: "Like so many they serve, social service organisations are under huge financial stress and dipping into reserves to meet the needs of desperate people”.
Since the global financial crises in 2009, the Vulnerability Report has tracked the experience of families and the organisations that work alongside them. The report highlights a “new normal” of desperation to find housing, food and sufficient income. While demand for community services has soared to higher levels than ever, funding for service providers has remained static since 2011.
“Government relies too heavily on the response of community organisations, charities and service providers to meet the needs of those with the least in our communities – we are stretched to breaking point”. Meeting the needs of desperate families requires highly qualified and experienced community workers, social workers and counsellors – but in eight years there’s been no increase in resources for community-based service providers, says the report.
It’s time for structural transformation to reduce the poverty gap. Our Moderator, the Rt Rev Andrew Norton, is working with the NZCCSS to lobby government for changes in policy relating to child poverty, social housing and the refugee quota. Read the Vulnerability Report and let it help your congregation speak out to your local MP to bring about change!
Rev Diane Gilliam-Weeks
Presbyterian representative on NZCCSS
An update to the Church register will be provided in the August edition of Bush Telegraph.
Pastoral care of ageing people
The Selwyn Foundation is running a course on the pastoral care of ageing people. The course will be held in both Auckland and Christchurch. In Christchurch, the course will be held on 28 July and 4 and 18 August. The Auckland workshops will take place on 4, 5, 18 and 19 November. Read more
Inaugural national gathering local ordained ministers
On 27-29 September, Local Ordained Ministers) are gathering at the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership (KCML) in Dunedin. They will engage with each other for three days of ministry development and strengthening of relationships. If you are a LOM, and haven’t already been contacted by KCML about the event, please contact dean of studies, Geoff New, for further details.
KCML theology study grants 2016
The Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership is offering a limited number of scholarships in 2016, to Presbyterians doing part-time or full-time theological studies through Otago University, Auckland University, Laidlaw College or Carey Baptist College. If you know of anyone who might benefit from such a grant, please encourage them to apply. Read more
Pastor wanted for church in Kobe, Japan
Kobe Union Church is an international, interdenominational English-speaking church, serving the large international community in Kobe, Japan. They are presently looking for an associate pastor to join our team. Read more about the position here.
“Engage”, a national evangelism conference, is being held in Tauranga on 2-3 September. Various organisations are involved in bringing the conference together including Alpha, Willow Creek NZ and others. Find out more at: https://alltogether.co.nz/engage/
Presbyterian Investment Fund rate
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid on Presbyterian Investment Fund deposits remains at 3.25% percent per annum. This rate became effective on 1 May 2016. The Fund is open to parishes, but not to individuals. For further information, email the Trustees’ Executive Officer, Kos van Lier.
“The Human in Question” and other lectures
The St John's in the City visiting scholar programme, in association with Religious Studies at Victoria University, is hosting three events in Wellington on 28-29 July 2016. Check out details of the lectures and speakers here.
Glen Innis vacancies
Ministers are entitled to one week’s free accommodation at Glen Innis every year. Book early if you are interested in going during the busy summer holiday period of Dec-Feb. Check out the vacancies here
Several parishes are celebrating anniversaries later in 2016, including St Columba’s Taradale and Kowai Presbyterian. Read more about these and other activities on the listing of national and regional events.